HomeTravelThe earthquake disaster in Turkey and Syria and the role of German...

The earthquake disaster in Turkey and Syria and the role of German imperialism


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In an earlier comment, the World Socialist Web Site described the major earthquake disaster that shook large areas of southern Turkey and northern Syria in early February as “a devastating indictment of world capitalism.” While governments worldwide expend enormous resources on rearmament and war, they are neglecting the most urgent needs of the broad masses of the population. The victims of the earthquake are being given only paltry handouts.

Aerial photo shows the destruction in Kahramanmaras, southern Turkey, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023. [AP Photo/Ahmet Akpolat]

German imperialism is playing a particularly vile role in this regard. To date, the German government has pledged just 108 million euros to support those in the affected region. Compare this sum to the 100 billion euros made available virtually overnight to finance the biggest military rearmament in Germany since Hitler, announced a year ago by Chancellor Scholz (SPD) in his infamous “new foreign policy era” speech. The sum allocated for extra spending on the German army is almost a thousand times more than the money allotted for the earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria!

Almost a fortnight ago, both Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Green Party) and Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) travelled to the earthquake region to feign sympathy for the victims.

“Our sympathy is not exhausted in words,” declared Baerbock, adding that such sympathy would not abate even if the catastrophe and its consequences were replaced by other headlines in the news.

Her colleague Faeser laid it on even thicker: “It tears our hearts to see the inconceivable devastation and endless suffering this earthquake has caused in Turkey and Syria.” It was very important for the German government to provide immediate and comprehensive assistance in close coordination with the Turkish authorities, the Interior Minister said.

Who are Baerbock and Faeser trying to kid with their crocodile tears? The German government is coldly abandoning the people in Turkey and Syria to their fate. The special funding provided by the government to escalate NATO’s war against Russia in Ukraine would be sufficient to repair the worst of the earthquake damage and also provide considerable reconstruction aid.

According to the World Bank, the material damage caused by the earthquake, which caused countless people to lose all their belongings, amounts to at least 34.2 billion US dollars (about 32.4 billion euros) for Turkey. For Syria, the property damage is estimated at around 5.1 billion US dollars (around 4.8 billion euros), although this figure is provisional. The reconstruction costs for both countries are estimated to be about double that sum. Although severe aftershocks may still increase the property damage (and also the human suffering), even then the 100 billion euros would probably not be exhausted.

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